Sunday, July 27, 2014

Song Of The Week: 7/27/14

Song: "Search And Destroy"

Artist: Soundgarden

Album: "Live On I-5"

Year: 2011

"Search And Destroy" is a cover song that was originally written and performed by Iggy Pop And The Stooges on their epic 1973 album "Raw Power". The song itself came to Iggy Pop from a Time Magazine cover which had the words "Search And Destroy" over a photo of military action in the Vietnam War. You get a sense the song is about the young American soldier who is a killing machine, a ticking timebomb, a walking path of destruction. But you also feel he is a tortured soul who is seeking help from someone, anyone. Though punk rock didn't come to life until 1977, you can hear it's direct influence in this Stooges classic. The version I chose here is from the band Soundgarden. It's a live version that was recorded back in 1996 but not released until 2011. Soundgarden formed as a band back in 1984, hailing from Seattle, Washington. The band featured Chris Cornell on drums and vocals, Hiro Yamamoto on bass and Kim Thayil on guitar. In 1985, Scott Sundquist joined the band on drums so that Cornell can focus on vocals, as well as rhythm guitar. 1986 saw the band appear on the "Deep Six" compilation which featured several underground Seattle bands. One of those bands was Skin Yard, whose drummer Matt Cameron would replace Sundquist on drums for Soundgarden. In 1987, Soundgarden joined legendary Seattle underground label Sub Pop and released the "Screaming Life" EP, which featured the songs "Hunted Down" and "Nothing To Say". In 1988, Sub Pop released the "Fopp" EP. That same year, Soundgarden signed on with SST Records and released their debut album "Ultramega OK". It's lead single, "Flower", helped Soundgarden get nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. The band also toured Europe for the very first time in support of their new album. In 1989, Soundgarden signed on with major label A&M Records and released "Louder Than Love". Thanks in part to the singles "Hunted Down" and "Loud Love", this album became the band's first to chart on the Billboard 200, peaking at #108. Hiro Yamamoto, unhappy with his role in the band, decided to leave Soundgarden at this time. Former Nirvana member Jason Everman filled in on bass for the rest of their tour but was let go from the band right after the tour was completed. Enter Ben Shepherd on bass. Shepherd ignited a new spark in the band, both with his playing and songwriting abilities. In 1991, the band released "Badmotorfinger". With singles like "Jesus Christ Pose", "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage" plus a spot on the 1992 Lollapalooza tour along with Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ministry, you could feel the music world begin to shift to this sound that was coming from Seattle. "Badmotorfinger", Pearl Jam's "Ten", Nirvana's "Nevermind" and Alice In Chains' "Dirt" would forever change the musical landscape. In 1994, Soundgarden reached their peak with the release of "Superunknown". This album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts and featured the singles "The Day I Tried To Live", "Spoonman", "My Wave", "Fell On Black Days" and probably their most popular song, "Black Hole Sun". This album won two Grammy Awards and has been certified five times platinum in the U.S. alone. In 1996, Soundgarden released "Down On The Upside". This album was really the band's first to feature the use of some acoustic guitars. While it had it's heavy moments, it was a little softer than the band's earlier material. This album featured the singles "Pretty Noose", "Burden In My Hand" and "Blow Up The Outside World". By 1997, internal tensions within the band caused Soundgarden to break up. They released a compilation called "A-Sides" to celebrate the band's history. The compilation featured the unreleased track "Bleed Together". From 1998 to 2009, all the members focused on their own musical efforts. Cornell released some solo albums and fronted the band Audioslave with members of Rage Against The Machine. Thayil worked with the likes of Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) and Krist Novoselic (Nirvana). Shepherd was in Wellwater Conspiracy and he worked with Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees) as well. Matt Cameron worked with Wellwater Conspiracy and became the new drummer of Pearl Jam also. In 2010, it was announced through their website that Soundgarden was getting back together after 13 years apart. On April 16, 2010, the band played their first live show since 1997 at the Showbox At The Market in Seattle, Washington. They also headlined Lollapalooza once again. The band would release the greatest hits compilation "Telephantasm: A Retrospective" which featured the unreleased track "Black Rain". In 2011, Soundgarden released their very first live album, "Live On I-5". In 2012, the band offered their song "Live To Rise" to the soundtrack of the movie "The Avengers". This would be the first newly recorded song by the band since their reformation in 2010. 2012 also saw the band release a brand new album, "King Animal". This album features the singles "Been Away Too Long", "By Crooked Steps", "Taree" and "Halfway There". In 2014, Matt Cameron announced he would not be touring with Soundgarden that year due to his prior commitments to Pearl Jam. Ironically, Matt Chamberlain, who briefly played with Pearl Jam in the early 90's, would fill in for Cameron on Soundgarden's South American tour. Currently, the news is all good on the Soundgarden front. Their new album "King Animal" shows that they are still very relevant in the music world and that their sound is one that has been missing from the music world for too long. While bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were obvious influences on Soundgarden's music, Soundgarden, in turn, has been a huge influence on any heavy band that came out after the 90's grunge explosion. This band, in deed, is legendary!

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